Diagnosis of oral lichen planus: a position paper of the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology

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Abstract

Despite being one of the most common oral mucosal diseases and recognized as early as 1866, oral lichen planus (OLP) is still a disease without a clear etiology or pathogenesis, and with uncertain premalignant potential. More research is urgently needed; however, the research material must be based on an accurate diagnosis. Accurate identification of OLP is often challenging, mandating inclusion of clinico-pathological correlation in the diagnostic process. This article summarizes current knowledge regarding OLP, discusses the challenges of making an accurate diagnosis, and proposes a new set of diagnostic criteria upon which to base future research studies. A checklist is also recommended for clinicians to provide specific information to pathologists when submitting biopsy material. The diagnostic process of OLP requires continued clinical follow-up after initial biopsy, because OLP mimics can manifest, necessitating an additional biopsy for direct immunofluorescence study and/or histopathological evaluation in order to reach a final diagnosis.

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